Turkish Van

Betraying an unusual trait for felines, this breed loves water. It is a breed that has more or less escaped human intervention and is the result of generations of natural, local matings — plus a helping hand from Ankara Zoo.

The Turkish Van is not good with small children. They are better suited for families who have teenagers or no children in the house. They have an aggressive nature that is passed down to them from their ancestors. They are one of the oldest natural breeds in the world.

The Turkish Van comes from the Van Lake in Turkey. They are very independent, do not like to be held much and have a strange fascination with water. This water fetish makes them excellent swimmers. It is not uncommon to have your Turkish Van swimming light next to you in the pool.

To save it from extinction, Ankara Zoo set up a breeding program to protect the gene lines, some of which have been imported back to Britain.


They are a beautiful cat with reddish color on their head and tail. Some cats will have one eye of each color.

A sturdy, long-bodied and muscular breed, with strong legs and neat, tufted paws. The head with high-set, well-feathered ears. The coat is long, silky and chalk-white, apart from the distinctive Van pattern on the head, which should incorporate a white blaze, ears and tail. Classically, the Turkish Van is a white cat with auburn points and amber eyes; today they are seen with amber, blue or odd eyes; and coat colors can include cream, blue, tortie, tabby and pure white.

Origin: Turkey

Grooming: 4/5

Activity: 3/5

GCCF Group: Semi-Longhairs

General Care

They are muscular, great hunters and need to be kept on a healthy regular diet. These cats have a tendency to become over weight quickly which can lead to health problems.


Sweet natured, friendly and intelligent, this is a sociable cat with a quiet voice.

They are somewhat mischievous. When you are out, do not be surprised if you find your cat has been turning the water facets on and off and also flushing your toilets.

Again this cat will not do well in a family with small children. They can stalk, scratch and do harm to those that are smaller than them. Yet if you have an adult family and want a cat that does not want to spend a lot of time with humans, then the Turkish Van is ideal. With the basic necessities, this cat can be on its own for hours and even days without human interaction.

Suitability as a pet

The Turkish Van will enjoy living with a family, especially one that has a pond or a swimming pool. Otherwise, a regular dip in a bathtub might suffice for these water addicts. Regular grooming is essential, particularly in the winter when the coat is denser.

Gallery of Turkish Van